News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

March 10, 2020


– – –
Equipment Will Ensure Patients and Front-Line Workers Have the Protective Equipment They Need To Stay Safe and Minimize Spread of COVID-19: Friesen

The Manitoba government is working with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and provinces and territories, to co-ordinate a procurement effort of protective equipment to prepare for the possibility of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.

“Our government, along with provinces and territories, is taking inventory of the personal protective equipment (PPE) currently in our jurisdiction, and planning for what would additionally be required in the event of an outbreak,” said Friesen.  “Ensuring staff throughout the health system have access to the equipment and supplies required for safe patient care and their own personal protection is a priority.”

Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living (MHSAL) is co-managing a provincially co-ordinated Incident Management Structure to ensure appropriate planning, preparation, mitigation and response to the evolving COVID-19 situation, the minister added.  While Manitoba has an adequate supply of PPE at this time, this purchase will ensure the province is well positioned to manage any additional demand on resources that would accompany potential or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba.

Current inventory of PPE supplies is being closely monitored, and regions and sites have been asked to take steps to ensure supplies of PPE, including procedure/surgical masks and N95 respirators, are maintained and that providers and staff are aware of their appropriate clinical use.

The purchase will help to ensure patients, staff, and front-line health workers, have appropriate protective equipment at a competitive price.  The determination of the volume of supplies needed is undertaken collaboratively with the assistance of the Public Health Agency of Canada.  Most personal protective equipment used in clinical environments will not spoil.

Based on current planning assumptions, including supplies required by Manitoba’s regional health authorities, service delivery organizations, personal care homes and fee-for-service clinics, the projected cost is an estimated $35.2 million.

PPE supplies are being utilized as health-care facilities and sites across the province in line with clinical recommendations.  This includes use by staff of gloves, gowns, procedure or surgical masks and face/eye protection when dealing with any patients who have flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, difficulty breathing).  Procedure or surgical masks are also provided to patients who show these symptoms, as well as anyone accompanying them.  

Staff performing certain procedures are required to wear an N95 respirator in addition to eye-protection, gloves and a gown.  Efforts to ensure staff are appropriately trained and fit-tested for the N95 are underway across the province.

“The government and public health officials are reminding Manitobans the risk of acquiring COVID-19 in Manitoba remains low, but is increasing given events occurring in Canada and around the world.  We must continue to prepare for this virus in Manitoba,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer.

The Manitoba government is working with Shared Health, Manitoba’s regional health authorities and service delivery organizations as well as the Public Health Agency of Canada to share information and best practices.

Common personal prevention and preparedness measures for viruses such as COVID-19 and influenza include regular hand washing with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand cleanser.  Additional precautions include covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and staying home when you are sick, regardless of recent travel.  Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of a respiratory illness, such as coughing or sneezing.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit Manitoba Public Health

- 30 -